Friday, 8 January 2016

Umbrellas Part 2 - Longevity

  I was preparing my move a number of years ago to Vancouver, British Columbia from Edmonton, Alberta in the middle of a cold winter. Reading through my check list, I thought I had better take my umbrella because of the quantity of rain that falls in Vancouver - approximately 50 inches per year. I dug around in the basement for my umbrella which I had not used for I don’t know how long as one usually wears a toque in Alberta due to the quantity of snow - approximately the same 50 inches per year.
 I finally found it at the back of a closet but it wasn't in good shape - torn with the spokes exposed and the handle broken. I thought I would get ridiculed by the people in B.C. if they saw this old, beat up umbrella.
  I decided to purchase an umbrella that would keep me dry and allow me to fit in with the rest of the population. There wasn't a great deal to choose from as Albertans do not use bumper shoots often. Summer rains come and go fast. The rains do not usually fall soft and misty but rather they come down in torrents and one’s umbrella has a good chance of not being used often - especially if the winds accompany the rain. Umbrellas don’t last too long in Alberta.
  I had a choice of the cheap five dollar compact model or a fifty-dollar unit with a nicely polished wood handle with a basic black colour. I bought the latter.
  Upon arrival in Vancouver, the skies were blue; not a cloud in the sky and it stayed this way for the month of January. When it did finally rain, I started singing “Singing In the Rain” while preparing myself for work. I had a meeting in down town Vancouver and I managed to find a parking space in front of the building where the meeting was being held but I drove a few blocks further on - I wanted to test out my umbrella! I got out of my car, opened the umbrella and started walking with a definite swagger to show my fellow Vancouverites that I too have an umbrella that was worthy of being in their league.
  I noticed the first person who was walking towards me. Man, this guy’s umbrella was a mess. It was black all right but nearly inside out with two wire supports sticking out and reaching for the sky. I shrugged it off and thought that he was probably from Alberta.
  The next umbrella I saw had “Pepsi” printed all over it with blue and red panels. Then more umbrellas – pink, green, some with tassels and even golf umbrellas! I then noticed a lot of people didn’t even have umbrellas. They were either scurrying for cover, wearing a cap, holding a newspaper above their heads or just walking with no regard for the blustery, wet weather.
  I was totally disappointed. And – nobody commented on my umbrella!
  A few weeks later, my umbrella came apart in some windy, rainy weather, which resulted in two wire supports sticking out and reaching for the sky. Umbrellas don’t last too long in Vancouver.

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